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By default, crontab on, for example, Debian, will mail any output of a job in your crontab to that user. How would one go about disabling this functionality?

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up vote 8 down vote accepted

There are two main ways of doing this, as I discovered.

Either you set the MAILTO-variable to nothing at the start of the file:


or you redirect each cronjobs output to /dev/null:

<command> > /dev/null

The second having the advantage that output on stderr should still be mailed to you.

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If you want to also redirect stderr on a command by command basis just add '>> /dev/null' to the end of the second line. – Catherine MacInnes Jul 16 '09 at 14:15
The second solution is much better, because that way you are still notified of any problems in crontab scripts. – sleske Jul 16 '09 at 14:23
>> will append data of stdout to file. It cannot be used to redirect stderr. Use 2> to redirect stderr. – Saurabh Barjatiya Jul 16 '09 at 14:43

To prevent output of both stdout and stderr use the following syntax:

<command> > /dev/null 2>&1
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